Siem Reap sees rush of tourists, over 5,000 visit daily

Siem Reap sees rush of tourists, over 5,000 visit daily

Siem Reap tourist arrivals have witnessed

a considerable increase for the start of 2024 with the province welcoming between 4,000 to 5,000 tourists daily throughout the month of January, according to a recent Siem Reap Provincial Tourism Department report.

Arrivals to the province in January have totalled around 124,000-155,000 domestic and international guests.

The starting month of the year also saw 115,532 visitors purchase tickets to the world-renowned Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, as reported by Angkor Enterprise (AE), the state-run enterprise tasked with managing ticket sales at the Angkor Park and Chong Khneas floating village in Siem Reap province, and the Koh Ker temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in neighbouring Preah Vihear province.

Income from the sales to templegoers approached $5.5 million, marking a 49.2 percent increase from sales the year prior in January 2023, according to the authority.

On top of income generated from tickets to the park, the province also generated $43,410 from sales to the Koh Ker and $101,854 from boat tickets at Chong Kneas.

The momentum of January arrivals to Siem Reap also appears to have continued in the current month, where during the three-day Chinese Lunar New Year from February 9 to 11 alone, the province received over 110,000 tourists, including 18,077 international visitors, according to official reports.

However, there remains more room for regrowth given that in January 2019, prior to the travel restrictions imposed during the global Covid-19 pandemic, AE recorded $12.38 million in receipts from 271,050 tickets into the temples.

Nonetheless, the increasing numbers of local and international travellers entering Siem Reap this year have been welcomed by tourism vendors across the province.

Untac Nem, Siem Reap resident business person and tourism graduate, told Khmer Times that the recent influx of guests throughout January and February has been “a welcome breath of fresh air for tourism businesses and the city as a whole after a slow 2023 in terms of arrivals.”

Untac said that predominantly Siem Reap city has hosted a combination of Western and domestic tourists in the previous month and a half, including some large international tour groups and regional Asian travellers as well.

During the recent Lunar New Year celebrations, Untac said he also witnessed thousands of Cambodian families who had travelled from different parts of the country to enjoy the holiday break in the city or at the temples. He also noted a noticeable increase in Chinese tourists across the city during the Lunar New Year period.

In terms of encouraging more regional travellers to the city over the coming months, Untac noted that while the new Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (SAI) was an attractive improvement for international tourists entering the province, more affordable, direct flights linking Siem Reap to other travel destinations across Asia is likely the best bet to attract more tourists to Cambodia in the short term.

He also said that increased international marketing is crucial to encourage more awareness of the city globally and restore arrival numbers to their 2019 heights.

“The marketing strategy of the Government, along with stakeholders such as the private sector tourism industry and Siem Reap locals, is crucial to bringing more and more visitors to the city,” he said.

“As long as they know how special this city is, its unique attractions and culture, and have the means to fly here, there is no stopping the Siem Reap international tourism economy in the future,” he concluded. khmertimeskh

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